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Are You Here for Seth MacFarlane’s Star Trek Parody TV Show?

Check out the official trailer for The Orville, Seth MacFarlane’s sci fi comedy series due this fall. I’m … cautiously optimistic?

Let me preface this by saying that MacFarlane’s work can be extremely hit-or-miss for me. There’s no denying that he has flashes of comedic brilliance. More often, however, my reaction to his brand of crude humor is to think of the episode of South Park that mocked MacFarlane’s Family Guy joke-constructing process: a pool of manatees batting around idea balls at total random.

(image: Comedy Central)

(image: Comedy Central)

MacFarlane has always open about being a big Star Trek fan (he even guest-starred on Enterprise), and his upcoming TV series for FOX, called The Orville after the spaceship MacFarlane’s hapless captain is commanding, is a straight-up sendup of everything Trek. You have a diverse cast of humans, aliens, and what looks like an android, color-coded uniforms, and a communicator(?) over the heart. MacFarlane’s ship and its crew are boldly going to discover strange new worlds and lewd jokes.

The comedy we see feels pretty fun—like telling the hostile alien in the viewscreen that he’s not well-centered (I grinned), or the Captain running right through a gooey crewmember. The Orville is spoof Trek, and in the absence of real Trek on TV, it would be great if the show is consistently funny and fills the void in our space-faring hearts. The pilot episode is directed by Jon Favreau of Iron Man(s), and I enjoyed watching the trailer because I really, really love Star Trek.

What’s less clear is whether The Orville can pull off its schtick as a weekly series. This seems like an idea better made for a movie—but of course, Galaxy Quest already exists. But there are definitely are some promising moments in the trailer, I’m curious to discover the origins of the motley crew members, and I like seeing Adrianne Palicki (of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Friday Night Lights, et al) as the Captain’s ex-wife.

That bickering exes set-up could either be comedy gold or set the stage for week after week of tired marital cliches and farting-in-space jokes. Manatees, do your work well with this one. I’d love to see The Orville succeed.

(via, image: screengrab)

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Kaila Hale-Stern (she/her) is a content director, editor, and writer who has been working in digital media for more than fifteen years. She started at TMS in 2016. She loves to write about TV—especially science fiction, fantasy, and mystery shows—and movies, with an emphasis on Marvel. Talk to her about fandom, queer representation, and Captain Kirk. Kaila has written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.